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Godforsaken Sea: Racing the World's Most Dangerous Waters
Godforsaken Sea: Racing the World's Most Dangerous Waters
Godforsaken Sea: Racing the World's Most Dangerous Waters
Audiobook6 hours

Godforsaken Sea: Racing the World's Most Dangerous Waters

Written by Derek Lundy

Narrated by Michael Tezla

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars



About this audiobook

An electrifying account of human courage and endurance, this is the story of the 1996 Vendée Globe, the most dangerous of all sailing races, as experienced by the fourteen men and two women competitors.

In November 1996, sixteen boats left France to circumnavigate the globe alone—without stopping and without assistance—through the world's most savage waters, the Southern Ocean. Over the next six months, each waged a solitary battle to stay alive against six-story waves, bone-chilling cold, ice-laden seas and their own physical and mental limitations.

Derek Lundy's brilliant storytelling takes us not only into the maritime action, but also the sailors' spirits. Our hearts race with one competitor as she struggles with raging seas searching for a missing rival, and we mourn with another as his forlorn, crippled ship fades from sight. Told with the mastery of Conrad and the intensity of minute-to-minute survival, this gripping tale is sure to appeal to blue-water and armchair adventurers alike.
Release dateOct 22, 2002

Derek Lundy

Derek Lundy is the author of Godforsaken Sea: The True Story of a Race Through the World's Most Dangerous Waters. He lives in Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, with his wife and daughter.

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  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    I really lost interest half way through and didn't finish it.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    The Vendee Globe race is the
    pinnacle for sailors who want to
    push their racing skills to the limit.
    It’s a race around the world in single-
    man, very high-tech, fast sailboats
    that stretch technology and human endurance
    to their limits. The worst part of the
    25,000-mile race is the Southern Ocean, where
    waves reach unimaginable heights and the cold
    is never ending. Virtually half the race, some
    13,000 miles of it takes place in these nightmarish
    The 1996-1997 race was typical: of the fourteen
    men and two women who began the race
    one disappeared, another had to perform surgery
    on his own elbow following an injury one (Goss) became an instant and certifiable hero
    by beating his boat back against the wind to
    locate and rescue a capsized comrade just before
    death from exposure would have occurred
    and three were wrecked.
    Ironically, all who could, chose to finish the
    race even if they had been disqualified. The
    rules prohibit touching land except at the start
    or the finish. Two of the racers chose to sail
    back to the start, several thousand miles, for
    repairs rather than risk disqualifications. Others
    who were forced to stop for repairs continued
    on just to be able to finish the race. Lundy
    intersperses the intense high drama of his race
    narrative with fascinating insights into the
    world of the sailors and builders who spent millions
    preparing for the race. “Visualize a
    never-ending series of five- or six-story buildings,
    with sloping sides of various angles. . .
    moving toward the sailors at forty miles an
    hour. Some of the time, the top one or two
    stories will collapse on top of them.” Knockdowns,
    where a boat is flattened on its side,
    were common, and just the necessity of bracing
    against walls to prevent being thrown about
    was terribly wearing on the skippers.
    Sleep was so important it became a technical
    issue. Studies were conducted for many of
    the skippers to determine just how little sleep
    they could get by on and what times of day
    and what length of time were best for short
    naps. One discovered he could get by on six
    hours of sleep in a twenty-four hour period and
    could break it down into periods as short as
    thirty minutes. That was the theory. In actual
    practice, most got hardly any sleep at all. So
    many things could interrupt their sleep.
    Having to constantly brace oneself against
    often irregular motions of the boat required the
    development of new muscles and could be absolutely
    exhausting. They needed constantly
    to fix things that broke. The boats were all
    mono-hulled and had a heavy keel that extended
    below the bottom and would act like a
    pendulum, righting the boat even after it capsized
    — in theory — although those who had
    been through it said their nervous systems
    were never quite the same again. This movement
    could also put tremendous strain on the
    keel and the hull. The faster the boat, the less
    likely it is to capsize — operating, I suspect,
    similarly to a bicycle or motorcycle. They are
    thinner and have less surface area for the
    waves to pound on. They also right themselves
    easier. Multi-hulled boats are more stable inverted
    (but less likely to capsize), so skippers
    of these craft will cut hatches in the bottom so
    they can get out should one capsize. They also
    learned to surf down the huge waves at an angle,
    sometimes going twenty-five to thirty knots
    down the waves. It’s important not to exceed
    the maximum speed permitted by the autopilot,
    because if it loses control all hell breaks
    loose. Constantly monitoring how to attack
    each enormous wave at just the right angle
    can become very tiring. Pitch-poling
    (remember Perfect Storm?) Where a boat
    goes bow over stern is a real danger. Noise is
    another problem. The boats are built of
    very strong carbon fiber that has great strength
    and lightness but transmits sound very well.
    The noise of waves hitting the hull or even just
    rushing by could be deafening and took time to
    get used to it.
    It’s a miracle that any of them made it back
    given the horrible weather conditions, yet they
    seem to thrive on the danger and lack of sleep,
    all vowing to return again for the next Vendee
    Glove. A wild ride for us armchair sailors.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    A fantastic read, the book brings to life the tremendous challenge involved on around the world, solo sailing, including the dangerous and stormy Southern Ocean. I loved this book, glad to have found it.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Since I write naval fiction, I read A LOT of sea stories since that is the only way to get a good sense of what it is like to be in a terrible storm or just being at sea which, judging from diaries and letters, is often boring, even in wartime.This book is about a handful of people whose sanity one must call into question: the men and women who sail, by themselves, through the most dangerous waters in the world in the Vendee Globe race which lasts at least four months. For much of the time, they are in waters so stormy they can't see anything but the giant waves which surround them and reach the heights of large buildings. I would be scared enough to pee in my pants. Almost every one of these boats not only gets knocked down on a regular basis, that is the force of the wind on the sail simply knocks the boat over one hundred eighty degrees and if one is lucky, the weight of the keel brings the boat back up.Suffice it to say that this book is beautifully written, the descriptions of the sea in all of its most violent states are breathtaking. The author, Derek Lundy, is a sailor and author although he doesn't participate in these kinds of races. Like any good story, this one is told through the eyes of those who were there and we feel their fear, triumph, and courage. I've read this book four times. I wish I knew Mr. Lundy.